Moscow schedule of play:
Alison Riske vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Alison Riske comes off her Tianjin title with renewed confidence, having won the title there all by herself. She will be looking forward to extending her winning streak against Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian can play a good game, followed by 4 heinous errors. You'll never know what Pavlyuchenkova's level is. Riske's level of play is surprisingly high, evidenced by her easy first round match. An upset here is possible.
Pick: Riske in 3 sets
Dominika Cibulkova vs. Vitalia Diatchenko
Cibulkova needs to win this match to ensure her alternate status in Singapore. Why is this important to her? Well, just by being an alternate, she will get a good pay cheque without having to hit a single ball. However, with her recent dire form, nothing is concrete. I mean, who loses a match to a 15 year old girl? Dominika looks lost on the courts, but is lucky enough to draw a lowly ranked Diatchenko. Vitalia had a few main draw appearances in the past, but was sidelined by injury. I don't think she's capable of upsetting the top seed, but she can make it close.
Pick: Cibulkova in 3 sets
Johanna Larsson vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
With the top seeds out, the pressure is on Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to live up to her seeding and win the title. Against Larsson, I'm sure Barbora is confident of her chances. The Swede cannot just depend on her forehand to win matches. Strycova's all court game will test Johanna's backhand, and cruise to an easy victory.
Pick: Zahlavova Strycova in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Varvara Lepchenko, Annika Beck, Kristina Mldaenovic
Upset alert: Tsvetana Pironkova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova